䷣ Ming Yi
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Kun-Earth
Li-Fire

Ming Yi I Ching Gua Meaning

明夷 Ming Yi ䷣ hexagram meanings:

Brilliance Injured, Calling Pheasant, Darkening of the Light, Injury, One’s Brilliance is Injured

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The thirty-sixth gua, Ming Yi, translates to Brilliance Injured, injury, or darkening of the light. The character ming translates to the brilliance and brightness of the mind, instead of light. It refers to the brilliance of virtue, intelligence, and the mind. The character yi has a large number of translations from the Chinese language, but as a verb, it translates to injure, raze, or exterminate. The two characters combined, Ming Yi or Brilliance Injured, form the inverse to Jing, Proceeding Forward. If one has proceeded without restraint, they will find their brilliance injured in the aftermath. To proceed is to take a risk, including the risk of injury. If one’s brilliance is injured in the process, they are forced to tend to their injuries. They cannot proceed without doing so.

The two ideographs representing Ming Yi have several parts. The first ideograph shows the sun and the moon to convey the idea of brightness. The cosmic brightness illustrated in this ideograph demonstrates the character of ming. The second ideograph consists of a large man and a bow. The large man is positioned similarly to those ideographs representing the word “great.” The greatness expressed here The act of injury is expressed with the addition of the bow. Together, these two ideographs represent the definition of Ming Yi. The man represented in this ideograph has not heeded his warnings and fell injured due to his own recklessness.

Ming Yi is Earth above Fire, an image of a sunset. Fire represents the sun in this structure as well and reinforces the concept of brightness present in Ming Yi. Earth above Fire is the direct inverse of Jing’s structure, which represents a sunrise. As complements of each other, these two gua open and close each day with the sunrise and the sunset. In Ming Yi, the sun is blocked by the shadow of Earth and darkness grows. This indicates a time of hardship has arisen, but this does not mean that all hope is lost.

This gua refers to the moment when the Tyrant of Shang imprisoned King Wen. Despite his efforts, he proceeded without enough restraint and found himself facing the consequences. He went into imprisonment with the virtues of the sages. He was gentle and bright in the face of darkness and despair. Although hope seemed lost and that the battle was over, King Wen was wise enough to nurture his injuries. He knew that by tending to his injuries, he would be able to fight another day. He would still have a chance to defeat the tyrant if he took the time to cultivate his virtues during this time. Ming Yi teaches us to face darkness with brightness, to tend to one’s battle wounds with softness. By doing this, we learn to overcome any difficulty, no matter how daunting.

䷣ Ming Yi hexagram

Ming Yi ䷣ Ming Yi hexagram Illustration

䷣ Ming Yi hexagram meaning

The sun also rises,
And lets you imagine
A brighter future,
Even in your present hardship.

Bottom Line

Ming Yi Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning


A lone crane flies among the sun rays
With left wing dipping down.
Then we know that the nobleman
Has had nothing to eat
For the three days of his journey.
Still, he persists,
Eager to hear his host’s news.

Line Two

Ming Yi Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning


An ordinary horse cast a giant shadow
In the slanting light of the setting sun.
Shadow and horse together 
Present a powerful picture
That speaks of good fortune ahead.

Line Three

Ming Yi Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning


The setting sun cast a shadow 
Over the hunting ground to the south.
The darkling plain hid the big game from sight,
And no one could say what would happen.

Line Four

Ming Yi Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning


Though I stood in shadow,
The setting sun’s rays 
Reached to my waist.
But in the doorway of my home,
They warmed my heart. 

Line Five

Ming Yi Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning


Ji Zi escaped when the House of Yin fell.
When he faded into the shadows,
It was time to plan a new future.

Top Line

Ming Yi Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning


The sun rises into a cloudy sky,
Giving only weak light.
These pale rays dim to dark entire,
As the sun sets at the end of the day.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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